ELEVATE panelists: To get on board with ‘big data,’ start with ‘low-hanging fruit’

From left: Lewis King, associate editor with Air Cargo World, Dan Acosta, CEO of Globatom, Spencer Askew, CEO of Teknowlogi and Andrés Perez, director with Swiss WorldCargo

MIAMI – With massive data collection becoming more standardized in the shipping industry, the question of how to make sense of collected data and use it to improve business performance is where big data comes in, said panelists at today’s ELEVATE 2017 conference. Most big players in the industry already have their own operational systems in place, but data is protected in ways that inhibit organizational goals, said Dan Acosta, CEO of Globatom.

“You have to find a way to make sure everyone collaborates, that the efficiencies pay for the technology, and that data is being shared across the board,” to turn collected data into actionable intelligence, Acosta said.

Panelists agreed that integrating data analysis facilitated by big data is the way forward for the industry, but how to begin such a major change in operational decision-making? “Start with the low-hanging fruit,” Acosta recommended.

When determining what that means, Spencer Askew, CEO of Teknowlogi, said “picking the right business topic to deliver day-to-day value” is a good starting point for introducing big data analysis into your business model. It all comes down to determining what is the right model for your own business, with shipment transparency, customer service and internal operations ranking as important general areas for introducing big data to aid in decision-making.

Andrés Perez, director of business intelligence and customer experience at Swiss WorldCargo, said low-hanging fruit for Swiss WorldCargo relates to pricing for the limited good of airfreight capacity. Using big data to implement a dynamic pricing system helps “to ensure that we have for the right customer the right price,” Perez said, adding that pricing concerns require “a lot of manpower for us on our side, and on the forwarder side, so that’s where big data could really help us to ensure the best fit.”

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